Massage therapy is the manipulation of body tissues , like muscles, tendons, and ligaments, using the hands, fingers, elbows, forearms, and feet. Massage therapists can use oils, lotions, and hot stones throughout their massage procedures.
Massage therapy is meant to relax the individual for an overall better well-being. This may result in less stress or anxiety, relaxed muscles, rehabilitated injuries, minimized muscle pain, and temporarily illness relief.
What Are Some of the Different Types of Massage Therapy?
There are numerous massage techniques that massage therapists learn and use throughout their jobs.
The first is a Swedish  massage, which is the most common form of massage therapy and involves rhythmic tapping and kneading. Common strokes for this technique are:
- Effleurage: smooth stroke
- Petrissage: kneading, rolling, squeezing
- Friction: deep circular movements
- Tapotement: short tapping done with cupped hands
A deep tissue massage is focused on painful areas of body.
- This technique is comprised of slow, focused strokes that put pressure on muscles and tendons. While this massage is less rhythmic than other massages, it is considered very therapeutic.
A sports massage is geared towards athletes.
- This massage technique was created to help with various muscle groups, dependent on the muscles used for a particular sport, is used for flexibility, training, and to treat injuries.
Neuromuscular therapy massages are medically-oriented and meant to target chronic pain.
- This massage is for tender muscle points, circulation, and nerve issues caused by movement injuries.
A Shiatsu massage is Japanese for “finger pressure” massage.
- This massage focuses on acupressure points that are crucial areas for the flow of the body’s energy, also known as chi.
In a Thai massage, the massage therapist uses his or her body.
- This allows the massage therapist to move the client and target the compression of muscles, joint movement, and acupressure.
A pregnancy massage is often considered complementary to prenatal care.
- This technique is designed to help reduce stress, decrease limb swelling, and relieve joint or muscle pain in pregnant women.
Where Can a Massage Therapist Work?*
Massage therapists can seek employment in a variety of facilities , like spas, health practitioners’ offices, nursing homes, sporting and fitness facilities, or private practices.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics  reports the following as the largest employers of massage therapists:
- Self-employed: 39%
- Personal care services: 29%
- Offices of all other health practitioners: 12%
- Offices of chiropractors: 7%
- Accommodation: 6%
Plus, the massage therapy industry presents incredible opportunity for entrepreneurship. Massage therapists can run their own business, and own their own tables, chairs, sheets, pillows, lotions, and oils. Individuals with their own practices can make their own schedules and hold in-home or onsite appointments.
*Most states, including Illinois, require massage therapists to be licensed prior to practicing. Click here to learn about Illinois-state licensing requirements .
Understanding Massage Therapy
Understanding the profession of massage therapy is the first step to choosing massage therapist as your career. From the benefits of massage to the different techniques, it is beneficial when choosing the path of becoming a massage therapist to have all the facts. If you still have questions, the helpful Admissions Team at Midwest Technical Institute can talk to you about your career goals and enrollment in the Massage Therapy Program.
Sources https://www.medicinenet.com/massage_therapy/article.htm  https://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/massage-therapy-styles-and-health-benefits#2-3 https://www.medicinenet.com/massage_therapy/article.htm#what_do_massage_therapists_do_in_treating_patients  https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/massage-therapists.htm#tab-3  https://www.idfpr.com/profs/massagetherapy.asp